How to manage your Domino applications?

What do you have to manage?

IBM Lotus Domino applications are normally just fine. Set up the access control, create the full text index and leave them to run quietly on the Domino server. What could go wrong?
Well the view indices for one thing can get out of sync and need rebuilding and that might make some of the views slow to load. But you’d never know unless you’ve run a baseline measurement against the access times to see if it’s still giving the same result.
Also when your developers have updated the application, does it perform the same way, better or worse? Have you got any measures to help you tell?
And you do all of this for every application on every server already. Don’t you?
Well if you don’t, why not? Wouldn’t it be sensible to keep track of your applications to make sure they are not going to impact the service you are delivering?
It’s easier than you think to keep track of it all. GSX Monitor allows you to make sure everything is running just as it should be, and it tells you if things start to go off track.

How can GSX Monitor & Analyzer help?

Let’s take a look at how GSX Monitor and Analyzer can help you get a handle on the Domino applications in your company.

A holistic view of each server is a great place to start, so the Server statistics overview is really useful for seeing all of the stats for a single server in one place. Emphasis is given to areas of prime concern for Domino administrators so that they can quickly pinpoint a trouble area and rectify it before the service is degraded for the users.

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Domino applications are susceptible to view index corruptions and monitoring access times to certain views in specific databases can tell you if your application is going to be giving your service desk calls. Using the Domino Database Performance features of GSX Monitor you can select the server, database and view that you want to simulate accessing and then graph the results. Allowing you to find the peak times for each application and work out if you need to split this application across a cluster to even out the load.

This data is then also taken into GSX Analyzer for you to utilize in long-term reports or feed one of you KPIs.

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Being able to see what disk space is left on each server is easy with a graphical representation of what space is left. This gives you an instant understanding if one of your servers is starting to fill its disk from a rogue application. You can also set threshold levels in the server settings to alert you if the available space becomes too small.

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Behind the views and documents Agents run in your Domino applications and once they are set up and behaving normally, not many people pay that much attention to them. The spot check report for Agents allows you to run against any given agent and see if it’s been behaving normally or causing problems. Specific reports can be generated for Agent Run Time, Scheduled agents not being triggered and Agents in error. This information would be hard to find in the log files so being able to run a report across your whole server in one pass is a real time saving tool.

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Spot check reports

Spot check reports are run when you need to check something, but they can be scheduled too. As the load on the Domino server is quite high, it’s not recommended that they be run with too much frequency.

Domino Access Control Lists (ACLs) are the gatekeepers to any of the Domino applications and therefore must be monitored carefully. Knowing what is happening in the ACLs of your applications means that you know who has the rights to do anything inside your company’s data. If that access changes, you want to know about it.

ACL Spot Check Reports can be run to see if the right people/groups are in all the ACLs on a particular server or if any ACLS have new entries since the last report. You can also check for any entries above a certain access level, or conversely, below that access level. Changes to ACLs can also be detected and reported on making the ACL reporting very comprehensive for the administrator.

This is all defined from a simple wizard that takes you through each option available.

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Database Size and Quota Monitoring rules were introduced to assist administrators in managing the storage requirements of their Domino Servers and ensure that storage is being used efficiently. It is often said that ‘disk space is cheap’, but the overheads associated with inefficient disk space usage are far from cheap, and can be a significant but hidden cost.

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From the Spot Check Reports view you can create Database Usage rules to monitor your Domino databases and evaluate their volume and type of user activity. In a Domino environment, there can be thousands of Domino databases. This is not even taking into consideration mail files, which are also Domino databases (.nsf). It is important to know and understand the usage patterns on these databases, identify the databases that are used the most frequently and also those that are not being used and could potentially be retired.

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Summary

GSX Monitor allows you to keep track of who has what access to your applications, how long it takes to access them, is it using too much disk space and even if there are errors with the enclosed agents. Manually checking all that for one Domino application would take a very long time, but for GSX Monitor it’s mere minutes to configure and in a matter of moments you have the results.
If you use ITIL in your organization GSX Monitor is a fantastic tool for assisting with Continuous Service Improvement and for creating baselines for the Change Management Process.
GSX Monitor has a lot to offer in terms of looking after your Domino applications, but that’s just the start of what GSX Monitor can do for you. Please look at the other features that are available to you and you will see that GSX Monitor and Analyzer are the perfect companion to your IBM Lotus Domino environment.